Brad Pitt on passing on playing Neo in ‘The Matrix’: “I took the red pill”

“If we were doing a show on the great movies I’ve passed on, we would need two nights"

Brad Pitt has spoken about passing up on the chance to play Neo in The Matrix in a new interview.

The actor was honoured with the Maltin Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival yesterday (January 22), where he took part in an In Conversation event.

Film critic Leonard Maltin, who the award is named after, asked Pitt to reveal what roles he remembered passing up on. After being initially reluctant to divulge those parts, the actor said: “I’ll give you one, only one, because I really believe it was never mine.”

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The Matrix
The Matrix

He went on to say he had been offered the role of Neo, saying: “I did pass on The Matrix. I took the red pill. That’s the only one I’m naming… I wasn’t offered two or three. Only the first one. Just to clarify that. I come from a place, maybe it’s my upbringing, if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t mine. I really believe [the role] was never mine. It’s not mine. It was someone else’s and they go and make it. I really do believe in that.”

Pitt added: “If we were doing a show on the great movies I’ve passed on, we would need two nights.”

Meanwhile, a fourth instalment in The Matrix franchise was confirmed last year. The next film in the series is currently set for release on May 21, 2021 – the same day as John Wick 4. Both movies will feature Keanu Reeves in the lead role.

Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski is directing the upcoming sequel, which will star Reeves alongside the likes of Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris and Jada Pinkett Smith.

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